If there is a musical instrument that has been present practically since the beginning of humanity and adapting to all kinds of cultures, it is the flute, explains the maestro Antonio Dubatovka, who was born in Minsk —the capital of Belarus— arrived in Jalisco in 2015 to join as principal section flutist in the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra (OFJ), an ensemble with which he has had many experiences.
Driven to music by the great sonic passion of his mother, Antonio Dubatovka talks with EL INFORMADOR about the various stages of his career and how he has traveled through different parts of the world from Korea or Argentina, until he reached Mexico.
“My music studies began when I was four or five years old, first with piano and music theory classes; Later I entered a specialized school focused on music, which guides and develops your ear and rhythm, all those musical skills that are required to make music", recalls Antonio Dubatovka, referring to the fact that he was 10 years old when he decided on the flute.
“My older sister is also a flutist, she somewhat influenced my decision. I rediscovered the flute when I started playing it, I fell in love even stronger. It is a very versatile instrument, it can be very lyrical, dramatic, very singing, very crazy, very fast and virtuoso”.
Passionate about Mexico
Although the flutist already had a great interest in Mexico and in particular the pre-Hispanic legacy, for Antonio Dubatovka delving into Mexican identity was an important cultural challenge, he recalls with humor; he landed professionally in Culiacán, where he played for the Sinaloa Symphony Orchestra. He lived in that State for 10 years, until new professional challenges encouraged him to audition for the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra and the new stage that he then began under the direction of the Canadian maestro Marco Parisotto.
“Mexico has always been an attraction for me culturally, also that pre-Hispanic Mexico that is not in any other country, is delicious. One of my dreams when I visited Mexico was Guadalajara, I liked it as a place to live… I fell in love with Teatro Degollado when I first arrived. I joined the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra (OFJ) in its reform period, it sounded very good”.
With the intention of marking a new stage in his personal and work life, Antonio Dubatovka indicates that the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra was a risky step, since giving up a stable job in Sinaloa opened up new challenges: “I risked it, everything went my favor thank God, the decision was very strong. I wanted that change and movement in my life, I could not have stayed, but fate had it prepared, it was waiting for me", highlights the artist, who together with the ensemble has been part of key projects, such as international tours and the recordings of discs.
He also has a salary
Antonio Dubatovka points out that one of the most recurring doubts that the public asks him is whether you can really make a living from classical music and the flute, to which he usually responds: "I love motivating people, because the market is very small in Mexico, but I feel that the Jalisco region lacks a lot of investment, still a lot of development, because there is a lot of talent... Many surprise me with that question, if I am a musician and what do I live on? I am a professional musician, I also have a salary and it is paid, but they ask me if I do something else apart from this. It is an evolutionary process, that people approach us. I always hope that the theater is full, if I see empty seats, I get angry (laughs). When you play, you play, in the end it doesn't matter how many people are in the audience, it doesn't influence the moment of interpreting”.
magic and versatility
Before Antonio Dubatovka settled permanently in America, landing first in Argentina, the flutist also lived in Korea, discovering new musical dynamics that reaffirmed his great passion for the transverse flute, an instrument that captivated him due to the versatility that has always distinguished him. and the great role it has in all kinds of repertoires.
“The flute has been one of the protagonists in everything, any group that I saw had the flute and it was almost always the protagonist. It was very curious, because the more I got into the flute world I began to see more flutes, it usually happens. I saw that leading role, his versatile performance.”
For Antonio, it is curious and challenging how, in a country like Mexico, children get closer to the flute and how different perceptions are created about this instrument and its various formats such as the transversal one, since in primary or secondary schools it is recurrent that, as part of artistic subjects, for example, the recorder is taken as that link to music, and highlights that this teaching process is key to sowing interest in exploring the transverse flute in the future.
"We work on it like a real instrument, you start to learn how to take care of an instrument, especially when you get an expensive and professional one, but you already have the notion of how to take care of it," says Dubatovka, considering that among the great challenges for teaching musical are the budgets granted to these programs, and especially when families are responsible for acquiring a recorder, however, he highlights that initiatives such as the ECOS nuclei, for children's education, are a clear example of how to discover and motivate to future talents.
Antonio Dubatovka emphasizes that the flute extends beyond a concept of being a transversal flute, as it is in his case, remembering that "each culture at the level of human history, basically each region of the world has its own flute, the recorder is also a flute, it doesn't matter that it costs 50 pesos, it's a principle. The flute is a tube with holes that help you change the tone, you can create melodies, you're already making music, starting from that scoop, every little town, however small it may be, culturally has its flute; The transversal flute is the result of an evolution of a European instrument, now it is better known, it is considered as the classical and academic flute, but any 'tube' with holes is the beginning, it will have its variations, but there will always be a flute”.